Case specific blogs start appearing

Update: 22 December 2007

Legal Blog Watch’s Carolyn Elefant predicts:

‘2008 will be a banner year for single-issue blogging, like David Rossmiller’s coverage of “everything Richard Scruggs,” Above the Law’s coverage of Aaron Charney’s lawsuit against Sullivan & Cromwell or Durham in Wonderland, covering the Duke lacrosse team rape case.’

Dickie Scruggs, an American lawyer, and others pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that they schemed to bribe a judge handling $26.5 million in legal fees related to Hurricane Katrina claims. Aaron Charney settled his sexuality discrimination case against Sullivan & Cromwell. Mike Nifong was disbarred over his over-zealous prosecution of a rape complaint against a team of Duke University lacrosse players.

Check out, too, this analysis of the project of a blogger, Jane Genova of Law and More, who blogged 3 to 6 posts a day during a civil jury trial about lead paint in the US.

Original post: Apple has announced the iPhone. But Cisco owns a trademark “Iphone”. So Cisco has sued Apple. And a top Cisco exec is blogging about the case, waging the war in the court of public opinion. This post considers that blog and a handful of blogs set up by journalists covering cases of public interest, mainly murder trials of whites from the look of things.

Comments like these are flooding in to the Cisco blog:

“Excellent. Absolutely excellent, and that’s coming from as big an Apple fan as you’re likely to ever encounter. What Jobs and Company did was (and is) wrong.”

and

“Very well stated. Apple, where are you? Oh, that’s right, you guys don’t blog…

Then there’s a new kind of legal journalism: the trial specific blog. I’ve always thought lay trial watching was an underpopulated hobby: a kind of civilised version of knitting at executions, but then again it is difficult to follow what is going on from the back of a courtroom even for a lawyer. People hand up documents for a start, and you can’t see them. A jury trial must be easier I suppose. We have a layperson’s book on a trial in Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation, and a fascinating book it is too not only because of its subject-matter but also because of the foreigness of the sound of the layperson’s analysis of the court process. Her comments about some of the counsel sounded audacious. This kind of ignorant thoughtfulness is not found in true crime writing such as Dead Centre or often in journalism. There is John Hirst’s Kangaroo Court, a Quarterly Essay, though I confess to not having read it. At the end of the day, very little is known about what people think about the courts, sentencing aside.

So there is a blog — Inside the Courtroom — about the criminal manslaughter trial in Billings, Montana — a town of 100,000 in a thoroughly red (Republican) state — of a childcare worker who gave her charges cough mixture, allegedly to make them drowsy, and killed one of them created by a journalist at the Billings Gazette. (She went down.)

And there is the McCowen Murder Trial Blog coming out of a Cape Cod newspaper (the convict got life in prison without parole). And more linked to from Legal Blog Watch to which this post acknowledges an obvious debt.

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